Protesters accuse BBC of 'blaming Jews' in anti-Semitic attack report

Hundreds of protesters accuse the BBC of ‘blaming Jews’ after report on anti-Semitic bus attack suggested it could have been sparked by ‘anti-Muslim slurs’ from the victims

  • Some 250 protestors were led by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA)
  • They chanted ‘BBC News where’s the proof!’ outside London studies on Monday
  • It follows reporting of attack against Jewish teens on a bus on Oxford Street 

Hundreds of people have gathered outside BBC headquarters in London to protest the ‘appalling’ news coverage of a recent anti-Semitic attack in the capital. 

Around 250 demonstrators led by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) held up signs reading ‘BBC News: Stop Blaming Jews!’ outside Broadcasting House on Monday night, while chanting: ‘BBC News where’s the proof!’ and ‘BBC News tell the truth!’ 

The furore follows the reporting of anti-semitic incident on Oxford Street on November 29, during the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, in which a group of Jewish teenagers were accosted and forced back onto their bus by a group of men – who were seen hitting the vehicle with their hands and shoes while spitting and hurling anti-Semitic insults. 

The CAA said the BBC news website reported that racial slurs against Muslims could be heard from inside the bus – leading Jewish organisations to accuse the BBC of victim blaming. 

It came after one reporter allegedly said it was ‘not clear what role’ the supposed ‘anti-Muslim slurs’ may have had in the incident. 

A spokesperson for CAA said: ‘Tonight’s rally sends a message to the BBC that the Jewish community has had enough of years of the BBC victim-blaming Jewish people for anti-Semitism, downplaying racism towards Jews, platforming anti-Semites and fuelling anti-Semitism in Britain. 

Around 250 demonstrators from Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) held up signs reading ‘BBC News: Stop Blaming Jews!’ outside Broadcasting House on Monday night, while chanting: ‘BBC News where’s the proof!’ and ‘BBC News tell the truth!’

Dame Maureen Lipman (pictured) encouraged people to join the demonstration ‘because you care, and you will be demonstrating against my often-times employer asking for parity with other victims of racism, prejudice and abuse’ 

‘We demand explanations over the BBC’s outrageous coverage of the recent anti-Semitic incident on Oxford Street, when the BBC’s reports victim-blamed Jewish teenagers for being attacked. 

‘We also call on the BBC to finally adopt the International Definition of Anti-Semitism and accept anti-Semitism training from us for its staff and reporters.’ 

In a press release the group said the report of anti-Muslim slurs coming from inside the bus was ‘made with no evidence to support it’, adding that it was ‘contradicted in the article by a witness from the bus who said that she heard no such slurs.’ 

The group added: ‘On its BBC London Evening News, the BBC even suggested that ‘it’s not clear what role [the supposed slurs] may have had in the incident.’  

Lord Grade, a former Chairman of the BBC, described the reporting as ‘shoddy journalism’ and called for answers in a video he recorded in support the protest.

It came after Dame Maureen Lipman encouraged people to join the demonstration ‘because you care, and you will be demonstrating against my often-times employer asking for parity with other victims of racism, prejudice and abuse.’

At the rally, Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, told the crowd: ‘We don’t want to be here, but we have to be here, because we have to say: ‘BBC News, stop blaming Jews’.’ 

He added: ‘We see no evidence for the BBC’s claim, which is a distraction from the real story, which is that Jewish teenagers were prevented by racist thugs from celebrating Chanukah.’

The founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, also spoke at the protest. 

The founder of Muslims Against Antisemitism, Fiyaz Mughal OBE, also spoke at the protest. He said: ‘It’s sad we have to come out here again, when Jews are blamed by institutions that we think we should have trust in’

At the rally, Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, told the crowd: ‘We don’t want to be here, but we have to be here, because we have to say: ‘BBC News, stop blaming Jews’.’

Video footage showed the aggressors making Nazi salutes at the Jewish teenagers 

The brazen thugs showed little worry of getting into any trouble with the police 

He said: ‘It’s sad we have to come out here again, when Jews are blamed by institutions that we think we should have trust in.’ 

The CAA claimed the BBC had failed to ‘respond substantively’ to them and other Jewish organisations in relation to the coverage. 

The group said the lack of response was ‘not out of the ordinary’ for the corporation, adding that recent polls it had conducted showed concern about the BBC’s coverage of Jewish matters.     

It said: ‘Polling that we conducted last year for our Antisemitism Barometer revealed that two thirds of British Jews are deeply concerned by the BBC’s coverage of matters of Jewish concern, and 55% by its handling of anti-Semitism complaints. 

‘These figures reflect years of eroding confidence in the BBC on the part of the Jewish community.’ 

CAA said it had submitted a complaint to the BBC and written to the Chairman and Director-General to voice its concerns. 

Its letter had asked the BBC to reveal its evidence that an anti-Muslim slur can be heard on the bus and to ‘explain why the claim that an anti-Muslim slur can be heard is asserted as fact.’

It added: ‘We also reiterated our call for the BBC to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism and once again offered to provide the Corporation with training in how to identify and deal with anti-Semitism, which will go some way to restoring what little remains of the confidence of the Jewish community in our nation’s public service broadcaster.’ 

Mail Online has contacted the BBC for comment.  

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